Cup of hot tea
Food and Drink

7 tea traditions from around the world

Hot, cold, black, green, herbal or caffeinated, spiced or sweet, there are many ways to sip and savor tea as well as how to prepare it. 

Many of us immediately think of China or Britain when it comes to countries known for its tea production and consumption, but there are many other travel destinations that are known for their tea traditions and beverage etiquette. 

Tea has become synonymous with daily life in some countries and in others it still holds a special place in elaborate ceremonies and preparation rituals. One thing most countries agree on: tea has many health benefits!

So, if you’re looking at some new travel opportunities that allow you to try new ways to drink tea, here are seven great options. 

Let’s talk how to do tea time across the world!

1. China

Tea is said to date back to 2727 BC when some tea leaves blew into Emperor Shen Nong’s pot of water and he so enjoyed the result that it became a staple of Chinese culture. Tea is favored for its medicinal purposes. One way to enjoy your tea in Hong Kong is to add condensed or evaporated milk to your tea, AKA milk tea. 

2. Britain

There’s a common question you’ll hear in many homes across Britain and it’s, “shall I put the kettle on?” We all know about afternoon tea and there are many restaurants, bakeries, and hotels that host their own afternoon tea, but did you know that about 165 million cups of tea are consumed each day? If you want to blend in with the locals, order black tea with milk.

3. India

Chai is the most common tea you’ll find in India which makes sense since chai is the Hindi word for tea! So don’t feel like you have to tack on the word “tea” after ordering chai as you’re essentially asking for tea tea. Chai is comprised of black tea, milk, a mixture of spices, such as cinnamon and clove, and then a spoon of honey or sugar to sweeten it up. You won’t find elaborate tea ceremonies or rituals here as most just drink their tea at home, but chai is definitely a daily part of life in India. 

4. Morocco

Morocco’s tea culture revolves around hospitality and inviting others into your home to share a pot of tea, but here the green tea will be sweet and minty. Most prepare the tea by putting the sachet of tea leaves and some mint springs into a cup and pouring hot water on top, and then adding a spoonful of sugar to sweeten it up. 

5. Japan

As Japan imported Chinese tea, they also brought over some of China’s tea traditions and ways to prepare the beverage. You can expect to find elaborate tea ceremonies in Japan and most will include Matcha tea as it’s the preferred blend. Green teas are very prevalent here and drinking tea has become a part of daily life to reap the health benefits of the leafy drink.  

6. Russia

We all know vodka is a popular drink in Russia, but it’s not the only thing imbibed here! Back in the 17th century, it was so hard to import tea into Russia that it was pretty much an upper class drink for those that could afford it. Near the end of the 1800s, tea was widely available thanks to the Siberian Railroad. The tea you’ll drink in Russia is mostly zavarka, a very strong brew of black tea. Just a small portion of the brewed tea will be poured in your cup and then you’ll dilute it with hot water. Plus, you’ll often be served a slice of cake, crackers, or other snack with your tea as it’d be rude to serve tea “naked.”

7. The United States of America

Funnily enough, the USA is known for throwing tantrums around tea and dumping a lot of it in the Boston Harbor, but since then we’ve come around to this drink and have even put our own spin on tea culture – especially in the south. Down here, you’ll find sweet tea which is brewed, sweetened, and then chilled and often served with lunch or as a cool drink in the afternoon. Cold or iced tea is a preferable choice in the US and at many restaurants if you ask for tea you’ll be presented with chilled or iced tea but you can request it to be sweetened or unsweetened. Though, if you attend an afternoon tea or tea party, hot tea will be served. We like to keep you guessing what kind of tea will be served!

Tell us your favorite country to enjoy tea culture in in the comments below or tag us on Twitter!

Cup of tea with a mint leaf
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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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